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Soil fertility is the ability to supply plant nutrients in adequate amounts and right properties and produce high yields.
THIS VIDEO GIVES THE BASICS ABOUT SOIL FERTILITY
Factors that contribute to soil Fertility
Deeper soils can anchor plant roots better and can hold enough was for use by the crops even in a dry season. Plant roots will be able extend and absorb nutrients.
This is the arrangement of soil particles and nit will affect air and water movement, heat transfer, root penetration creating an ideal environment for plant growth.
Is the ease with which excess water can move out of the soil. This will influence proper movement and heat transfer. It will also influence soil pH. It also influences the presence of living organisms and root development.
Poor root development is encouraged where there is poor respiration. Living organisms can only function well when there is enough soil air to break down organic matter and release nutrients that will be taken up by plant roots.
Water holding capacity
The ability of the soil to retain enough water for plant growth will influence nutrient up take since all nutrients have to be dissolved in water before they can be taken up in plants. Poor water holding capacity will encourage loss of nutrients through leaching.
Availability of plant nutrients
This is when nutrients are in a soil in a form at which plant roots can take them in. This is greatly affected by the amount of soil water and pH for example in acidic soils, phosphorus becomes un available to plants or fixed. In extremely alkaline soils Baron, potassium, zinc and Magnesium are un available.
This will influence nutrient availability presence and activity of soil organisms and presence of disease causing organisms in the soil.
Experiment to compare the rate at the rate at which water rises by capillarity in different soils.
3 long glass tubes – Dry sand, clay, loam high in organic matter
Water – Retort sand
Large glass beaker
Note or measure the height reached by the water in each time at intervals record your results in the table below.
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